Two Realities, One Prospect, & The Secret Garden

Wednesday, June 3 (2020) / 10 min read

This email is part of our email series for the June 1-8 (2020) enrollment of SOI & ARM. If this resonates with you, you can find the rest of the series here.

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Let's expand on Push vs. Pull marketing.

We want to “dimensionalize” this idea.

To help demonstrate this live, as you read this email, we need to apply a “version number” to you in this very moment. To keep things simple, let's say you are Version A.

Work with us here, it'll be worth it. Promise.

Version A represents your current reality (paradigm) and worldview. Your beliefs that inform your decisions, actions, behaviors, and how you see and understand the world and your place in it.

In this context, you're playing the part of a prospect.

There is a “force” within you that seeks improvement — a need and desire to “level up” your current operating system.

It could be the desire to learn a new foreign language (for a deeper need perhaps), to learn paid traffic (which will benefit you financially), or a more distant skill acquisition like the craft of creative writing or achieving flow.

Point is, this invisible force, for lack of a better term, pulls you to level up. Much the same as Mario seeks mushrooms and stars and flowers to transform into Super Mario on his adventures.

Using Super Mario as a metaphor, we can visualize this idea like this:

Fig 1: Prospect's pull to “Level Up”

Your goal may be to master paid advertising to a level that will allow you to build new ‘traffic engines' for your business (and ultimately new customers).

You know it will take time to get there.

So you work to level up bit by bit, small win by small win, acquiring new skills and “level ups” until, when you look back in time, the transformation is noticeable and measurable.

Think about that dynamic.

You probably don't wake up each morning wondering where you will spend your hard-earned dollars and “mental credits”.

Most days your skill acquisition is new information from reading and watching. Stuff that requires “time and attention credits.” You're not opposed to spending money when it'll serve your needs (faster, more direct, in a better way, etc.).

This is your reality.

It's the reality of millions of prospects each day, all working towards a version of themselves that's better in some meaningful way.

Now we want to present two realities from the other side of the business model. This is the side where value is created and exchanged for dollars.

Enter the weird world of the internet marketer.

Through the lens of the marketer, you, Version A, are a prospect.

You have a problem you're seeking to solve. An itch you want to scratch and, under certain conditions, will pay to have solved.

One category of marketer is a wily old fox.

They've trained in the dark arts of human manipulation and coercion. But they don't think of it like that. Instead, they call these dark arts by friendlier names — copywriting, persuasion, future-pacing. “It's just smart direct response marketing, really,” they say.

Their GOAL is to convert a prospect into a customer, ideally as fast as possible (compressing the sales cycle through the innocent use of psychological tactics).

We've visualized this below:

Fig 2: The “pushing” dynamic of Reality #1

As a prospect, you're on the left. They want to push you over to the right. To make a sale. To purchase their product.

It's easily justified, of course, because the product will solve a big problem for you. It's in your best interest after all.

This may be true. Their product may be pretty damn good.

But how you are moved from prospect to customer, from your perspective, is less pleasant (as we described in yesterday's email).

It can feel spiky, scratchy, and icky. At its best, it feels like coercion. At its worst, manipulation.

When we overlay these two dynamics — (1) prospect and (2) coercion marketer (the wily old fox) — what is revealed are opposing forces wanting different things.

They're not in alignment.

A dichotomy.

We've visualized the two forces below:

Fig 3: The disconnect between Reality #1 and Prospect

There is an alternative reality where some marketers operate differently.

In this reality, there are different worldviews (finite vs. infinite thinking), strategies (push vs. pull), and mindsets (hustle and ego vs. empathy and authenticity).

This alternative reality is driven by empathy, where the primary focus (goal) has shifted from making a sale first, to providing insights before an action is asked or money has ever changed hands.

Revenue is the reward for helping prospects level up.

The big insight is that we can provide the “leveling up” EXPERIENCE when we present information as insights (“presents”) for the best prospects to find and unwrap and benefit from.

No catches.

Much like this email is having on you now.

If you're “one of us” — “People like us do things like this.” — then the insights we've packaged up for you to find and experience are likely having the desired effect. But you be the judge.

Meaning: you're very likely slightly better off from this interaction (this experience).

Which means you're probably not Version A anymore.

You're A9. Or B.

Something more, not less. We've given, not taken.

Here's the visualization that better represents a better prospect (you, perhaps):

Image of Mario to Super Mario Transformation

Fig 4: The congruency and allignment between the needs of the Prospect and Reality #2 (Matt)

Each insight is a little win for you. Something that incrementally improves your operating system version by 0.3 each time.

To be clear, an insight is *not* just helpful information. Helpful information is a dime a dozen. Helpful information has a low barrier to entry (Google search) and offers little value other than being helpful within a certain context.

Kids are world-class in finding useful information. How to find a walkthrough for a game level. How to find the best price for whatever.

An insight is altogether different.

An insight has a payload that delivers power and has impact behind it. It can rock worlds and shift realities. The feeling is unmistakable.

Useful information is a paper airplane. A powerful insight is a freaking rocket ship! 🚀

Like the German fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, insights are like breadcrumbs for the best prospects. They lead them along a path, all while upgrading a prospect's worldview in a way that is fundamentally valuable to them.

In yesterday's email we introduced the idea of Push vs. Pull marketing. We want to share another component of that reality. It's more a mental model in the form of a metaphor.

The metaphor, for us, is the idea of a “Secret Garden.”

In the book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy visits Narnia three times via the magic of a wardrobe in a spare room.

It pulled at her.

When I was 10 — 12 years old I read (or rather, it was read to us in class) a series of novels called The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.

I know I was ten because I was at a remedial school for two years for kids who had learning difficulties (dyslexic and ADHD traits). And that series of books pulled at me like the magical tree pulled at Joe, Franny and Beth.

The metaphor of a secret garden is powerful because it makes the idea of an invisible force pulling and tugging at someone more accessible.

For J.J. Abrams, his “secret garden” is the mystery box (nicely articulated in this TED talk). Same concept. The pull of an unseen mystery. Of a different (better) world.

Earlier we presented the idea of the “coercion marketer” (we call this wily old fox, Frank), and said there are two categories of marketer.

The other reality is driven by empathy and providing insights before an action is asked for, or money has ever changed hands (we call this marketer Matt).

When Matt creates marketing that intentionally lays down a path of insights, a prospect EXPERIENCES a “force” as a sense of being willingly PULLED towards a better place/world.

Along the way, these well-placed insights have an effect of upgrading, transforming, leveling up a prospect towards WANTING to be a customer — even way before the opportunity to become a customer is available or presented.

Think about what we've just said. Let that little nugget percolate for a sec before you continue. It's a game-changer.

This dynamic is completely different to the dynamic between a prospect's reality, and the reality of that wily old fox, the coercion marketer. These worlds fundamentally don't align.

Last week, as a result of one of the emails we sent talking about Landon Porter (a non-customer at the time), Neeraj had this concern:

Comment from Neeraj

This is a valid concern. Or rather, when the game of marketing is approached from the worldview of “more leads” is better and “a customer now” is better than later.

This is the reality of traditional direct response marketing, where all focus is on the various conversion points of a funnel (mousetrap).

Yet here's the real reality…

Landon not only became a customer, he came in with all guns blazing and picked up our full combo package.

Landon Porter now a customer

Coercion not required.

Not at any point.

We suspect we provided insights to Landon that created the PULL towards the secret garden — our world — because the invisible pull was in tight alignment with his needs and values, and he decided he wanted to be a part of the journey with us.

This is our approach to marketing.

It's different to that of the direct response status quo.

We believe it's better.

Because it's led by empathy, it meets the needs of a prospect head on, and through this process, attracts better prospect (Sphere of Influence).

Better prospects who “become” customers before money ever changes hands. Exchanging money becomes an inevitable downstream formality through the fascia of relationship marketing (AutoResponder Madness).

But marketing this way is not for everyone, it's not even for most marketers. It's for a few, because it requires a different mindset.

It requires trust in the process.

You can't have a foot in both realities. It doesn't work like that. It can't.

It's one or the other. A decision. The red pill or the blue pill.

We prefer our version, our reality.

If this resonates with you, we invite you to enroll and come on the journey with us.

The water is warm. Come join us.

— Shawn

Shawn Twing


After reading this, are you still Version A? … or have you (1) been leveled up some, and (2) did you feel the invisible “pull”?

It's a weird feeling, we know. A feeling void of coercion and laced with a sense of excitement.

If you felt it — welcome to a different way of doing business.